With the impending release of the TouchPad, a consumer-conscious tablet that will compete with Apple’s iPad, HP is set to enter the slate market with a strong developer presence and intuitive operating system. Building upon the already-strong foundation of webOS, the company recently released a closed preview to developers in the hopes that the extra time will result in a better user experience.
Inevitably, a developer leaked over twenty minutes of emulator footage and handed it off to the folks at PreCentral.net. They posted the video to YouTube, but it was almost immediately flagged for violating the site’s user agreement. However, what was seen during the video’s brief lifespan demonstrated an extremely competitive operating system; an operating system that very well may be magical.
The TouchPad’s browser was not a unknown feature, having been displayed at Think Beyond event. The user interface is remarkably akin to that of the iPad, featuring an address bar, the standard forward, back, and refresh buttons, and an easy way to share web pages with friends and family.
When a page is rendering, progress is shown in an unobtrusive way, as a narrow bar across the bottom of the navigation bar fills from left to right and fades away upon completion. The browser will feature support for the multitouch standards of modern tablets – pinch-to-zoom, double tap, and long tapping for access to sharing options.
The navigation bar is constantly present in the emulator, meaning that it will not leave when you scroll down. While you do lose some screen real estate in the process, the browser’s controls are constantly at your fingertips.
Receiving a substantial overhaul in HP’s next version of webOS, the Maps application is no longer the laughing stock of the mobile marketplace. Moving away from our Google overlords in favor of Microsoft’s Bing, the user interface has been completely revamped to feature cool colors and an intuitive controls.
Featuring those staples that we’ve come to expect from mapping service — directions, a search bar, annotations, etc. — HP has included some interesting options that draw from Microsoft’s unique approach to their online service. There is a Bird’s Eye view that provides a three-dimensional view of streets and buildings, but the view option is not available in this version of the emulator.
Utilizing the larger screen real estate of the TouchPad, the Calendar app is clean and reminiscent of now-ancient desktop calendars. With a leather band lining the top of the application keeping the interface fresh and organic, the Calendar uses color to help with organization of your different calendars.
This is not a dramatic departure in terms of functionality from its webOS 2.0 predecessor. Tapping on events open up dialogue boxes that allow you to edit them. Though the calendar is not revolutionary, it is at the very least productive and efficient.
When announcing webOS 3.0 to the world, HP presented the email application as one of the most apparent interface innovations. It takes the three stages of the webOS 2.0 app and spreads them out onto three panels. There are handles at the bottom of the panes that allows for users to adjust the size of each individual piece of information.
Email composition takes place on a separate card, which does not fill up the entire screen, and does not boast any notable features. Considering the fact that the emulator is simply previewing a beta build, the writing aspect of the Email app is subject to change.
HP’s notification system received a significant overhaul in webOS 3.0, which was demonstrated at length at the launch event. Instead of dedicating a portion of the screen to notifications, the new operating system places important updates next to the device’s menu. By tapping on the notification on the upper-most navigation bar, one is given the appropriate options for response.
The information that has come from the emulator leak has not been groundbreaking considering the fact that HP has already shown off webOS 3.0 to the public. However, it does appear as if it will be an extremely competitive offering in the tablet marketplace.
What do you, tablet enthusiasts, think? Would you purchase a TouchPad to gain access to this operating system? Is there any particular feature that sticks out to you? Sound off in the comments below.
[Source – PreCentral.net]